Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Palestine: back to the negotiations table? Nothing sure, again.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki

"Political negotiations and international protections needed and we won't be dragged in confrontations with Israel because we know we will loose".
Riad Malki

In Tokyo, visiting Palestine President Abbas stressed yesterday that the peace negotiations must be based on the 2003 performance-based road map presented by the European Union, Russia, United States and the United Nations that calls for Palestine to end "all acts of violence against Israelis" and demands that Israel "freeze all settlement activity" and "take all necessary steps to help normalize Palestinian life within a 4 months agenda."

In the meantime, Israeli forces have raided a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, arresting at least 40 people. The arrests on Monday at the Shuafat camp in annexed east Jerusalem were part of an operation that Israeli police said was aimed at "putting order" in the area. The dispute took a violent turn when Palestinian schoolchildren threw rocks at Israeli police vehicles heading into Shoafat Refugee Camp on Monday, injuring four officers, an Israeli police spokesman said.

We invited at the FCCJ the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki who accompanies president Abbas, Malki said that any renewed peace talks with Israel, which have been stalled since the launching of a three-week Gaza war in December 2008, must focus on border issues and set a deadline of four months.

The Palestinian cabinet "strongly condemned" what it called an Israeli incursion and its senior officials said negotiations with Israel could resume only if they focussed on borders and other core conflict issues and set out a clear deadline. Citing biblical roots to the city, Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its "indivisible and eternal capital," a claim that has not been recognised internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 conflict, to be the capital of the state they hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli and Palestinian protesters have squared off on a weekly basis in the past few months during generally peaceful demonstrations staged against Israel's recent seizure of homes inhabited by Palestinians in parts of East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, the leader of Hamas said yesterday he sees "no prospects' for a Mideast peace settlement, a stand that could reduce Russia's chances of holding a Middle East peace conference that includes the Palestinian militant group. Khaled Mashaal said that Israeli leaders bring "war and occupation, thus blocking meaningful negotiations regarding the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon. "In the nearest future we see no prospects of peace settlement in the region, in Syria and Lebanon," Mashaal said.

How and when a solution ?

The Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – is expected to hold a high level meeting toward the end of February in Moscow to assess the current diplomatic situation. According to an European official, Abbas still "seems to be maintaining that negotiations at this stage would not lead to anything, and would only undermine his position among his own constituency." The official said it was difficult now for Abbas "to convince his people that going to negotiations would be any different than in the past, and that just as nothing came out of the Oslo process, Camp David, Annapolis or talks with former prime minister Ehud Olmert, so too new negotiations would not likely lead anywhere." "What they fear," the official said of the PA leadership, "is that they will go into negotiations and everything will be opened yet again. They want to know where the starting point is, and their starting point is what they think was agreed in the past: that a Palestinian state will be established on territory along the 1967 lines, that Jerusalem will be a shared capital, and that there will be an agreed – not unilaterally imposed – solution to the refugee issue." Once those principles were agreed upon, he said, the Palestinians would be willing to enter talks and discuss where borders would run, which settlements would be removed and which would stay, and the terms of a land swap.

When scholars forcing the US views enter the arena: It gives this document:

"Imposing Middle East Peace an analysis" by the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre

Quotes "The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank seems to have finally locked in the permanence of Israel’s colonial project. Israel has crossed the threshold from the Middle East’s only democracy to the only “apartheid regime” in the Western world. But forceful outside intervention may provide one final hope to reverse the settlement enterprise and achieve a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. In the absence of forward movement on the “peace process,” third-party initiatives once thought to constitute unwanted interference now appear to be the only path to the conflict’s resolution. Proposals emanating from Europe and the Palestinian Authority could pave the way for an exercise of Palestinian self-determination in the occupied territories, but only if the US sets aright the chronic imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians. If left to their own devices – including, as some have proposed, to reconcile their conflicting historical “narratives” – the further usurpation of Palestinian lands, and the disappearance of the two-state option, is all but ensured. The outcome will depend in large measure on whether the Obama administration transitions from a role of “facilitation” to one of “intervention” before Israel’s settlement policy consigns the two-state solution to the dustbin of history."

In other words, Abbas is working with the US and not as sincerely with the other partners of the Quartet for a solution that his people won't accept nor Israel...

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